August 2019 Top Picks: Opportunities for Writers

The August 2019 edition of "Writing Life Essentials," a monthly hand-curated list of contests, grants, scholarships, submissions calls, and awards, with a focus on opportunities that are at least one of the following: local, free to apply, and/or committed to celebrating and supporting writers from historically marginalized communities. We do the research, so you have more time for what matters: the writing. Or, getting your toes sandy. That matters too.


Contests & Awards


ColorCreative and Powderkeg Teen Movie Contest

Fee: $0; Award: winners will have their films produced with a budget of $25k; Deadline: August 9th 

ColorCreative and Powderkeg are looking for underrepresented writers who have an idea for an ensemble feature film that captures the humor, the awkwardness, and the all consuming drama of the modern high school experience. They want to see fresh and inclusive perspectives that represent a new generation coming of age in today’s world. 


2019 Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence

Fee: $0; Award: $10,000; Deadline: August 15th

This award, initiated by donors of the Baton Rouge Area Foundation to honor Mr. Gaines, is designed to inspire and recognize rising African-American writers of excellence as they work to achieve the literary heights for which Ernest J. Gaines is known. Emailed entries will not be accepted; entries must be RECEIVED at the Foundation offices by August 15th.


Diode Editions 2019 Chapbook Contest 

Fee: $15.00; Award: $250; Deadline: August 15th

Diode is seeking submissions of manuscripts 22-46 pages in length. The winning chapbook(s) will be published within one year. Select poems from the book will appear in the Diode Poetry Journal. If the winners attend AWP 2020 they’ll have the opportunity to participate in author signings and an off-site reading.


New Visions Award 

Fee: $0; Award: $2,000 and standard publication contract; Deadline: August 15th

This award will be given for a middle grade or young adult novel by a writer of color or Native/Indigenous writer. Submissions may be any fictional genre novels or graphic novels for children or young adults. We are particularly interested in literary fantasy and science fiction, but also welcome contemporary, historical, mystery, suspense, and genre fusions. Nonfiction will not be considered. In addition to a cash prize, the winner will receive a standard publication contract, including our basic advance and royalties for a first-time author. An Honor Award winner will receive a cash prize of $1,000.


Fellowships, Conferences & Residencies


The Edith Wharton Writers-in-Residence Program

Fee: $0; Award: $1,000 and lodging; Applications Open August 1st

Two-week residencies during the month of March are offered to two women poets, fiction writers, or creative nonfiction writers at the Mount, Edith Wharton’s former home in Lenox, Massachusetts.


The Script Lab TV Writing Virtual Summit

Registration: rolling; Free Weekend: August 3rd and 4th

This online screenwriting summit is dedicated to the craft and business of television and serial content. Learn from top TV screenwriters, showrunners and literary managers. 


2020 PEN/Phyllis Naylor Working Writer Fellowship

Fee: $0; Award: $5,000; Deadline: August 15th

This fellowship aims to help writers whose work is of high literary caliber and is designed to assist a writer at a crucial moment in their career to complete a book-length work-in-progress. They are seeking writers of children’s or young adult fiction who have published one or more novels that have been warmly received by literary critics, but have not generated significant sales.


The Fourth Annual Hollihock Writers Conference 2019

Fee: $29-$69; Weekend: August 23rd - August 25th

Hollihock is a three-day writers conference held in New Bedford, MA. All of its authors and presenters have a strong connection to the New England area because we believe that strengthening our community is the best way to improve personal growth.


Porter Square Books Writers in Residence Program

Fee: $0; Deadline: August 31st

In order to make the resources needed to write books more available to the writers and aspiring writers in our community, Porter Square Books will select two writers, one writing for adults and one writing for young readers, to be Writers in Residence.


Jobs & Work Experience


Become an 826 Boston Writers’ Room Fellow

Pay: Stipend with Benefits; Starts: August 5th or 26th

826 Boston is looking for mission-driven change-makers to join the Writers’ Room Fellowship as AmeriCorps members for the 2019-2020 school year. This is an 11-month service program, where you will build upon your personal strengths and develop transferable skills. Formal onboarding, ongoing training throughout the year, and individualized coaching from a direct supervisor will be provided. 


Fiction, Nonfiction, and Poetry Editors for AGNI Magazine 

Pay: Stipend; Deadline: August 15th

AGNI is aiming to expand and diversify their editorial team and plan to bring on two new fiction editors, one new nonfiction editor, and three new poetry editors. Applicants should have substantial reading and writing backgrounds—including a broad familiarity with not just contemporary but also earlier work in their genre. Applicants should also have a strong publication history and a notable community presence in their genre.


Freelance Weekend Writer/Editor, The Root

Remote; Deadline: None

Gizmodo Media Group is looking for a sharp writer with a strong voice and a keen eye for great stories that speak to the intersection of blackness and culture, politics, entertainment, and sports, among other pertinent issues. Write clean, accurate news stories, find unique angles on the big narratives of the day, and craft original critiques on African American news and opinion that will speak to The Root’s dedicated audience. 


General Submissions


Submit to The Psychopomp Magazine

Fee: $0; Deadline: August 15th

The Psychopomp Magazine is seeking fiction submissions of unpublished work. They like stories that treat the concepts of passages, transitions, and the state of being betwixt and between, they are open to all work regardless of theme. The word limit for general submissions is approximately 5,000 words.


Submit to Gay Magazine

Fee: $0; Deadline: August 17th

Gay Magazine is seeking essay and short ficiton to be included in their second quarterly issue. They want cultural criticism; thoughtful, clever and beautiful personal essays; short fiction; original artwork and photography. They pay $1 a word for work up to 3,500 words in length.


Submit to Fireside Magazine

Fee: $0; Deadline: August 30th

Fireside Magazine is seeking short story submissions in English or Spanish from anywhere in the world, from all kinds of voices, for the July 2020 issue of Fireside Quarterly. Pieces should be no more than 3,000 words, and they pay 12.5 cents per word. They are especially interested in seeing work from people of color, LGBTQIA+ people, disabled people, members of religious minorities, and people outside the United States.


Submit a Story to Nowhere

Fee: $0; Deadline: August 31st

Nowhere is seeking submissions from seasoned journalists, anthropologists, musicians, poets, film directors and anyone else who spends time traveling. They publish traditional features, travelogues, journal excerpts, character sketches, profiles, conversations, reviews, notes, video, audio. They are interested in pieces with rich contextual detail, elliptical storylines and lean, evocative writing.


Submit to Brian Mill Press Kindred Books

Fee: $0; Deadline: none

Inspired by the unrelenting ambition, perseverance, and trailblazing vision of MacArthur Fellow and sci-fi writer Octavia Butler, Kindred Books aims to put marginalized voices first.  They are seeking narratives that make readers reflect and question the world around them, and particularly in emotionally raw, coming-of-age stories concerning young people of color, especially black girls and women. 


Brian Mill Press Call for Pitches: Essays for "Makers on Making"

Fee: $0; Deadline: none

Brain Mill Press seeks emotional, radically authentic essays of 750-1,500 words to appear on Voices, their online content platform, in the "Makers on Making" column. They exclusively invite submissions from people of color, women, and LGBTQIA+ writers.


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About the Author

Maura is a third-year student studying English and Communications at Northeastern University. She's from Long Island, New York and in her free time loves watching movies, listening to music, and rock climbing.

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